Saturday, 13 April 2013

She comes up to me...

and says
'Do something Mum!'

No grey face here!

What to do about the dog?
I've always said I will do the right thing by her when the time comes.
The problem is how do you know when the day dawns?
Last night she wasn't at all well, she was slightly sick and didn't look at her dinner.
I went up to the greenhouse with glass of wine and watched the rain start to fall.
My head was full of, are we getting to the point when before things
overtake us, and she becomes really ill should I make the decision.

Coming back down the garden she was stood outside the door with tail
between her legs.  Ted was stood watching her with a worried expression.
She looked at me with no welcome in her eyes, we went in
and she climbed into her bed.

While we were having supper she went and ate hers.
Relief, she's coming back.

We often sit with tears in our eyes thinking of when the time comes.
 I have always said that I would rather do it before she is in real pain.
However saying what you propose to do, and actually doing it, are two completely
different things.

Lettice is now fifteen years old and she has been part of the family since she came
from the rescue centre at the tender age of 6 months.
She was skin and bone and had been horribly ill-treated.
She was one very timid dog and has been all her life,
well that is, until the dementia set in.  Now she's very chilled and not at all fazed when people come.  I have never had such an intelligent dog; a collie with all their funny
little foibles; a joy, a faithful and non-judgemental friend.

She loves the Proms, every last night I wonder
'Will this be her last?'

A couple of years ago she had a mini stroke (ataxia) and we sent for the vet thinking that this was the end.  He arrived ready for the dastardly deed to be done.  On seeing him she barked, and he said that she was far from the end.  On explaining what was wrong and what to expect we were happy to carry on.  She has had a couple more attacks and  now is very doddery on her feet.  

Ted takes her in for her nails to be clipped every six weeks as like many old girls she has trouble with her feet.   I don't go as I transmit my fears!

When we take her out for a walk, we plod along accompanied by the pitiful looks of
all we meet.  It's not good to see in their eyes what we know in our hearts.
Lettice is coming to the end of the road.  She is still keen to go out for a walk although the distant gets shorter by the month.  She sleeps when she gets home for the rest of the day. During that time, she has to be put out, to save on bed linen, as her muscle tone isn't what it was, whose is?
Our washing machine is going most days.  Ted gets up every night at 3am to let her out.
The only time he slept through the alarm, she had an accident, she was as mortified as he to the puddle on the floor, Ted thought he'd let her down.  Miss Tena is now our faithful friend, as our holiday money is now spent at her door, allowing Lettice dignity in old age.

Our old family dog Poppette, one winters night was let out and my father couldn't find her, she was sixteen and had wedged herself between the coal bunker and the house
waiting to die.  He brought her in and 'saved' her for another couple of months.
To what purpose?  Her life was miserable after my mother died and he was at work all day.  Eventually she was taken off by the vet to be put to sleep.  When I heard, I always vowed I wouldn't let it get that far.  How to know, that's the problem?


  1. I do feel for you. I still remember the upset at home when my childhood dog was put down,I'd had him around since I was two, looking out for me and being my friend. I was sixteen when he died. Lettice looks and sounds like a real smasher, take heart in that at least she doesn't know what's coming, and she'll have you both with her when you decide the time is right.


    jean x

    1. Thank you Jean, you are so right, she is just living each day without thinking forward... just wish I could do the same!


  2. Oh Linda, my heart goes out to you.
    Our dogs are just such important personalities in our lives. When we inherited Tilly after dad passed away I lived in dread of the day she went too as she was an old lady. She had very bad arthritis. One time she was having a particularly bad patch as the pain relieving injections she was having weren't working as well as they had and one day I came home from work and I just knew, she was different, she came over and placed her head in my lap and just looked at me, something she had never done before. She knew. Nothing can ever prepare you for that dreadful, dreadful time but it's our love for them which makes us make the decision we don't want to make.
    Lisa x

    1. Lisa, I can imagine that Tilly's death brought the pain of your dad's death back; I know we've spoken of him before. All I hope for when the time comes, is that I can be brave for her and not let her pick up too much on my fears.


  3. Linda, you'll know exactly when, because she will tell you.
    It's not quite yet, and when the time IS right you'll do exactly what has to be done and it'll break your heart, and no amount of thinking about it beforehand will make anything any easier, as you know.
    The price we pay for loving them so. . .
    In the meanwhile, enjoy what is rather than what will be?
    if only someone was able to make that decision for us too when we need to go!

    1. Elaine, I know, and I do try to enjoy each day... it's bloody hard though, because every wobble I wonder?

      Couldn't agree more with you about us. Plans are afoot already!?!


  4. Oh Linda I have been there and the post bring tears to my eyes. You will know when you feel like she is living just to please you and no longer living to please herself having no more pleasure in her life. Many hugs to you for loving her so much and you will know when it is time, you wont question it I trust she will let you be aware.

    1. I'm sure she will Willow; thank you for stopping and commenting.


  5. I don't know what to say, I'm a gibbering wreck when it comes to that stage of a dog's life. You know what's right and you'll know when, but nothing makes it easy.

    Maybe exchange positions with the hound and think what you'd want doing for yourself. A bit of hurt in old age provided that there's a measure of pleasure to balance it a bit, but once the whole thing becomes a drudge, well ...

    1. What a wise old owl, I really do like your suggestion of swopping positions, you know I'd never thought of that... in the meantime I'm off to sniff in the hedge.


  6. Replies
    1. I know, I know, but it hurts thinking.


  7. The latest Lettice litmus test... Lettice is very well this morning... well enough to give full voice to Mrs T. featured on the Andrew Marr programme. The only other person on the tv she's has taken so strongly against is Nick Griffin... I am happy to say... all is well in our little kennel in Kent.


  8. She still looks very beautiful. Please try not to feel guilty when the time comes. My friend and I were discussing, only yesterday, the "end of life" pet guilt that we've both suffered from - it's unavoidable, I suppose.

  9. This is the first of your posts that brought a tear to my eye. My father would never allow us to have a dog when I was young as he had lost his in an accident as a child and I am sure he was saving us from being upset if anything happened to our pet. Try and enjoy each day, she will let you know when the time comes I am sure. So glad she has rallied today, maybe having the sun come out cheered her up. Jayne x

  10. I still don't know if I got it right. My head thinks I did, but my lachrymal glands say otherwise. My heart goes out to you. x